Reiki, in case you are unsure what it is, is energy healing. The word Reiki comes from the Japanese word, rei, which means ‘universal life’ and ki, which means ‘energy’.
At its simplest, Reiki is the transfer of life force energy from one person to another in a process that promotes balance and harmony in the spirit, mind, emotions and body, thereby stimulating wellbeing in the recipient.
While I appreciate that this may sound a bit ‘woo-woo’ to some or a bit out there and strange to others, please bear with me. As an energy healer, I am often met with curiosity, fascination and a bit of scepticism when I tell people what I do for a living.
But for millions of years, ‘traditional’ cultures have defined the human body as a ‘wholistic’ energy system with the innate ability to heal itself. From shamanism, which is thought to be one of our oldest spiritual practices, to India’s ancient spiritual tradition that is more than 5,000 years old, people spoke of a universal energy. Called ‘Prana’ in Sanskrit, it is the breath of life that moves through all forms of existence and gives them life.
The Chinese, in the third millennium BC, meanwhile, also referred to the existence of a vital energy that they named Ch’i. All matter is composed of this universal energy, which consists of two complementary forces: yin and yang. When the yin and the yang are in balance, a living system exhibits physical health.
Even in our own culture, spiritual healing has been around for many centuries too.
But let’s start at the beginning. Reiki was first developed as a healing system in Japan early in the last century by Mikao Usui (1865-1926). Usui was a seeker of knowledge and spiritual understanding. He studied history, religion, medicine, psychology, and metaphysics, and broadened his worldview by travelling to Europe and China.
Although he faced many challenges in life, he is said to have met them always with equanimity and perseverance. Students described him as a gentle man who was always smiling.
Spiritual method of healing
Usui was a lifelong follower of Tendai Buddhism and Shinto, but also underwent three years of Zen Buddhist training later in life too. It is believed he first received Reiki energy in 1922 while meditating on Mount Kurama, a mountain sacred to both Buddhist and Shinto practitioners. He is said to have achieved enlightenment, or ‘a state of no fear’ at this time.
Although Usui declared Reiki to be a spiritual method of healing, it is not associated with any single religion. In fact, today it is practised throughout the world by people of many and varied faiths and cultures.
But Reiki is slightly different in nature to the spiritual healing that you may have come across elsewhere – even though both harness life force energies and both depend on a ‘healer’ to serve as a channel. Here are a few of the main differences:
Reiki practitioners undergo special training to learn the various philosophies, techniques and rituals that are part of the practice. Spiritual healers are intuitive healers who heal through their own connection to spirit;
A Reiki practitioner goes through a prescribed process of connecting with the energies, while spiritual healers follow a personal process based on their own experience and how they feel inspired;
Reiki is based on a defined approach, which involves asking a patient to lie or sit down. Spiritual healers do whatever they feel is appropriate in that moment.
As a Reiki energy healer, I strongly believe that all matter is composed of universal life force energy and, when this energy flows uninterruptedly through the body, balance is restored and individuals display physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing.
Indeed, science is finally catching up with what ancient cultures have known for years by uncovering scientific evidence to support these ancient concepts. Quantum physics, for instance, puts forward the idea that human beings have energy fields. As a result, modern technology has developed equipment and techniques to measure the electromagnetic field emanating from the physical body.
Scientist Albert Einstein, meanwhile, was able to prove that all matter, which includes human bodies, are made up of atoms – which are nothing more than interacting fields of energy. In other words, energy healing is not a new age fad – it has stood the test of time and has, in fact, been around for centuries.
Without consciously knowing it, we transmit and absorb energy all the time. When you say someone “feels good to be around”, you are really talking about their vibrational energy. Happy people vibrate on a higher energy frequency, which means you can feel their positivity.
Have you every walked into a room in which a confrontation has taken place only moments before? Did you experience a dense or negative feeling that made you want to leave right away?
Or if have you been on a trip to the beach recently, can you remember how good it made you feel? Air by the coast has a light energy due to the salt it contains, which is a natural energy cleanser. The fact that the air tends to be moving also means it vibrates at a higher frequency and that helps us to feel good.
Another interesting point is that, as humans, we unwittingly use our hands to help either ourselves, or others, all the time. It is a very natural, instinctive thing to do. For example, if you experience back pain, your hands immediately go to touch the affected area. If a child falls over and hurts their knee, you instinctively rub it gently to make it feel better.
The same instinct to touch applies when you meet someone you know and like, and you give them a hug. At work, you may shake someone’s hand or pat them on the back to acknowledge a job well done. Pregnant woman likewise tend to rub their tummies to connect with their babies.
So one way or another, we all enjoy touch, but why? It is because, in using our hands, we transfer energy, which helps us, or someone else, to feel better. It is an instinctive reaction, an innate and inherent ability that we all have.
Reiki then is simply an exchange of energy but of the highest kind – and as it is transferred with positive intention, it intensifies and amplifies the power of touch. This means that Reiki increases balance, harmony and wellbeing emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually.
It is a simple, natural and safe method of healing that can be used to complement all other medical or therapeutic techniques, benefitting not only people of all ages but also our four-legged friends.
Debbie Walmsley has been a natural healer all her life, having first discovered the power of healing in her teenage years. She has studied various forms of energy healing, which included spending a month in Peru with a shaman. Debbie is a Reiki practitioner, master hypnotherapist and Three Principles facilitator. She is also a member of the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists and the Complimentary Medical Association.
The Spirit of East Anglia community held its inaugural workshop last week based on the theme of ‘transition’.
The topic seemed an appropriate one as the event was held during the ancient fire festival of Samhain, which traditionally ushered in the Celtic New Year and took place over three days from 31 October until 2 November. A time of transition and letting go, it was, and still is, a time of change from a sunlit, outdoorsy life to a period of dark nights and time spent indoors in the warmth.
The idea is that, as we move from one phase of the season’s wheel to the next, it is an opportune moment to get rid of clutter, to throw out what is no longer useful for us and, as we increasingly move within, to open ourselves up to new possibilities.
So with this in mind, here are our practitioners’ top tips for health and wellbeing based on the presentations and exercises they shared with attendees at the workshop:
Sarah Stollery, kundalini yoga and meditation teacher
Tips to improve your wellbeing:
Wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual: I know it is hard – especially as the days are getting shorter – but if you can start your day with a few minutes of deep breathing or meditation, you will ensure you enter it more consciously and with greater focus on what is truly important. This could be everything from working towards a goal or tackling a challenging project or perhaps just being more heart-centred in your interaction with others;
Long, deep breathing: Many of us have adopted the unconscious habit of breathing incorrectly. But when we take in a deep breath, we suck our abdomens in, forcing our chest and shoulders to rise. In fact, when we breathe correctly, our abdomens should relax outwards slightly as the diaphragm moves down and the lungs fill with air. If you can take a few minutes everyday to ensure you breath correctly, you will feel more alert, energised and at peace. For more information on the ‘how to’s’ and benefits of long, deep breathing, go to https://www.3ho.org/long-deep-breathing;
Stretch and move: We are all well aware of the benefits of exercise, but the difficulty is finding the time and space to do a little bit everyday. But that is key. Little and often is better than seldom for longer. When my yoga students ask me how to start a practice at home, I always encourage them to choose one exercise or stretch they love and one they find challenging and to do both for three minutes each. If you would like a few simple yoga practices to try, check out my warm-up video;
Sing: Singing promotes the natural release of endorphins, improves lung capacity, clears the throat energy centre and can even help with sleep. Singing or chanting a mantra, as we did in the workshop together, is a powerful tool to help create wellbeing. Kundalini yoga teaches us that chanting or singing a mantra employs the technology of naad, or totally balanced universal sound, to produce a state of shuniya, orzero-point consciousness, in the practitioner. If you would like to sing along to the mantra we sang on Thursday, this is a link to the track https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BSKPele2Vo, and here is a link to the practice: https://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/mantra/meditation-protection-and-projection-heart;
Tune in to your “heart-brain”: If you do only one thing for yourself every day, make it this. The road to becoming a more heart-centred species has been, and will continue to be, a bumpy one, but we can help effect change by transforming our own consciousness. When each of us takes the time to connect into our heart, we help to re-calibrate the collective operating system of humanity from one of fear and separation to one of love. Here is another lovely meditation for dropping into the heart space at https://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/pranayam/pranayam-techniques/meditation-calm-heart.
Juliette Bryant, nutritional consultant, superfood chef and author
Tips for boosting your immune system:
Heal the gut: Kill the bad guys using aged garlic and support the good guys by taking water kefir, sauerkraut and probiotics. Also heal the holes with turmeric latte. Join me on my new, four-week online course, which is starting on Monday 12 November, to learn more;
Take vitamin C: Plant-based vitamin C is easily absorbed by the body and is key to supporting a healthy immune system. I have a great food supplement on my website;
Take vitamin D: More than 900 bodily functions require vitamin D, but it is especially helpful in ensuring a healthy immune system. My favourite is vitamin D3 with K2, which again you can find on my website;
Use CBD oil: Cannabis oil supports the endocannabanoid system, which underpins the whole immune system.
Helen Preston, counsellor and holistic therapist
Tips to improve your mental health:
Do not go it alone: Sharing is often the first step to healing;
Be kind to yourself: Learn to be your own best friend instead of your own worst enemy;
Depression is not about weakness: It has many causes and is often about being too strong for too long;
Grief and loss are part of life: There is no ‘right’ way to grieve but talking can help you make peace with it;
It is often not about making big life-changing choices: It is about consistently making small – almost insignificant – but positive choices for yourself on a daily basis.
Gemma Kennedy, transformational coach
Wheel of Life exercise to help you assess where your life is at:
It can be really useful to take some time each month, or each season, to review where your life is at and where you might like to head towards.
All you need for the Wheel of Life exercise is a pen, paper and a quiet moment to reflect.
Draw a circle and divide it into eight sections, labelling each one with one of the below headings, or others if they feel more appropriate:
Health / Physical Body
In your own time, evaluate each of the headings, scoring them on a scale of one to 10 (with one being very dissatisfied and 10 being very satisfied).
Afterwards, take a look at your answers and see what you notice. Some questions you might like to ask yourself are:
– Why did you give each category the score you did? Why is it not higher/lower?
– What would your ideal score be for each category?
– What score would you like to achieve over the next month/three months /six months/year?
– Which categories do you feel are most important to improve upon or balance?
You might like to keep hold of these scores so that you can check back in with them in future. I find they can be incredibly useful as a reminder of your progress when you feel that not much has changed.
Lisa Glydon, homeopath and natural health advisor
Tips to ensure a healthy immune system:
Boost your oxygen levels: If a cell or organ has plenty of oxygen, it can heal, mend and rejuvenate itself. Lack of oxygen (hypoxia) leads to an acid state, which in turn leads to a toxic state, which in turn leads to dis–ease.
So no matter what the weather this winter, ensure you move and walk around to move the lymph around your body, so it can carry away toxins;
Massage or rub different parts of your body to get the oxygen flowing around it;
Breathe deeply from your abdomen, which will not only help to oxygenate your blood, but also help to relax you by massaging your abdomen – which is the seat of your emotions.
Increase your water levels: Water is essential to life but we often forget to drink it during the winter months. Every cell in your body depends on water. Without it, your blood thickens and your heart and immune system need to work harder.
Drink 1½ – two litres of freshly filtered, rather than tap, water daily to hydrate you throughout the winter. Treat yourself to a filter jug if you do not have one and preferably use glass rather than plastic to drink it out of due to the synthetic hormones in plastic;
Add lemon, lime, honey, molasses, green powders or any other natural foods to flavour your water, or coconut oil if using hot water.
Get more sleep
Sleep is vital for health as it helps to renew, repair and rejuvenate the body while you sleep. Lack of sleep lowers your immune system and can lead to chronic disease. In fact, sleep deprivation is a form of torture.
Apps are a great source for finding online relaxation techniques;
Herbs such as Avena Sativa/Valariana/Passiflora help you to relax and fall asleep but also keep you asleep;
Take magnesium before bedtime as it aids relaxation;
I have a sleep tonic with added homeopathic remedies to aid sleep too.
Ensure your diet is balanced but supplement it with superfoods and supplements
Boost your immune defences by aiding your digestive health as it will help you fight off bacteria, viruses and pathogens. Remember it is not bugs that need to be feared – it is your immune defences that need to be strong.
Foods such as garlic, ginger, lemons, limes, apples, all green vegetables, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, all seeds, molasses, organic cider vinegar, olive and coconut oils, nettle and dandelion teas, baking soda are just a few good foods that will help.
In terms of supplements, vitamin C, B, D, zinc, magnesium, Omega 3 oil and probiotics are my favourites.
Invest in a homeopathic kit
Although homeopathic kits are available from Helios or Ainsworth’s Homeopathic Pharmacies, they no longer send them to UK addresses due to new European Union rules. But I normally stock a few, so you can treat yourself and your family naturally this winter. Homeopathic remedies stimulate your immune system and self-healing mechanisms rather than suppress them, helping to keep your thoughts happy and healthy at the same time.
Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist
Tips to keep your energy levels high:
Wake your self up and switch on your energy: Put one hand on your naval and, with your other hand, rub under your nose and under your bottom lip at the same time. Switch hands and repeat the process.
Put one hand on your navel and, with the other hand, rub just under your collarbone in the two little dips you can feel there about an inch either side of breast bone. Switch hands and repeat.
Put your hand on your naval and with the other hand, rub your coccyx (tailbone). Switch hands and repeat;
Ground yourself: Grab a stainless steel spoon and rub the bottoms of your feet. This connects you to the earth, which helps reduces inflammation and helps you feel more grounded;
Release stress and tension using an emotional stress release technique: Hold your forehead with one hand, and the back of your head where it joins your neck with the other. Think about anything that is causing you stress or you are finding difficult to work out/find a solution to. This technique can be used for both a present and future situation such as a forthcoming job interview, difficult conversation, presentation and the like. Simply hold the points mentioned and take yourself through the situation. Imagine it in as much detail as you can and visualise the best possible outcome. You can also use this technique to defuse stress in the body when thinking of a past issue;
Drink plenty of water: Drink at least two litres a day, but build up to it gradually if you currently do not drink much. Your body consists of 75% water, but you loose a litre a day simply by breathing. So drinking water will make you feel less fatigued and more alert. You will have fewer aches and pains, your skin will look plump and younger and your joints and spine will thank you. In the cold weather, try hot water with lemon, or thyme, or fresh mint instead. Take a glass of water up to bed and drink it when you wake to ensure the first thing you do each morning is let your body know you are nourishing it.
Top five reiki principles to help heal your mind, body, and spirit:
Principle 1 – Just for today, I will not worry
Worry causes stress and anxiety, which leads to imbalances in the mind, body and spirit. So alleviate your stress by trying to view each obstacle in life as an opportunity to learn and grow. Aim to keep both the obstacle and its solution in perspective – and focus the energy you have available on the solution rather than the problem.
Principle 2 – Just for today, I will not be angry
Because we are raised to believe that anger is wrong, dangerous, and unacceptable, from an early age we learn to suppress it, disguising our true feelings in order to survive, gain favour and/or avoid punishment. But if this repressed anger continues into adulthood, as it nearly always does, it can lead to chronic illness and disease.
Our thoughts trigger emotions that show up as physical symptoms in every part of our body. We can lie to others, and we can even lie to ourselves, but our bodies never lie. So just for today, try not to get angry.
Principle 3 – Just for today, I will do my work honestly
Approach your work with the intention of performing it to the best of your ability and with the goal of sharing all your talents with those you interact with. Do not hold anything back because to do so would be to cheat others. It is also cheating yourself to deny that you possess these gifts.
Principle 4 – Just for today, I will be grateful
Pause for a moment on a regular basis to acknowledge and appreciate the many blessings in your life. If you take the time to keep a list of your many blessings, you will be amazed at how many wonderful things there are to give thanks for. Do not just count the fleeting materialistic things. Focus on the things that money cannot buy.
Principle 5 – Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing
In some ways, this is the hardest principle to live by. Yes, it is easy to be kind to people you like and who like you, and it is easy to be kind when it does not cost us anything. The test comes when we are asked to be kind to people we do not care for or who make us feel angry, frightened, threatened and insecure.
But we are not asked to like, love, or condone the actions of others. All we are asked to do is to be kind to all living things when the opportunity presents itself. The greatest barrier to kindness is judging everyone from the standpoint of our own values and beliefs.
Reflecting upon these principles and striving to live within their framework is certain to effect positive change to all areas of your life. And if you fall short, that is fine. Simply try again tomorrow.